Saturday, June 22, 2013

Gaiman's Ocean

I went to the bookstore just down the street from me to buy a copy of Neil Gaiman's The Ocean At The End of the Lane, his first novel for adults in eight years.

The anticipation has been delicious. I've been waiting for this book ever since I heard it officially announced. The cover has been my desktop image at work for months.

It's been tempting to preorder on Amazon because I wanted this book so much and once I held the last copy the store hand in my hand

I was disappointed.

Less than 200 pages and $26.

I know that Gaiman doesn't  have control over pricing so I don't blame him for that. In fact I don't blame anyone for anything regarding the novel. It is what it is and the publisher has to make some money to pay for his contract. I get it.

No, really, I do.

But I'm disappointed. I wanted to support my local bookseller by buying the book there rather than online. THAT'S what I'm disappointed about, when it all comes down to it. The publisher has made it difficult for me to buy the book locally.

Instead I will likely buy it from Amazon because a) I have a gift card and b) it's less than $15 there. Even with shipping I'm out $20 at the most. It's also disappointing that it's going to be such a quick read, too. Mr. Gaiman's kept his adult fans waiting for a grown up book and this is all the story we get? There couldn't have been more? Sigh.

I'm a longtime fan of Gaiman's. I am. I've been as near a completist as I can afford and even an apologist to my friends who don't understand why I think he's one of the best storytellers out there. He's a treasure.

It looks like my unreasonable, fannish expectations and reality have collided with terrible force. I will buy the book from Amazon, despite exhortations to support local booksellers. In that regard it will be delivered by the USPS so at least I can support my local mail carrier.

Is there a solution? Is it possible for the publisher to so deeply discount copies to brick and mortar stores  to compete with Amazon and their ilk? Why wouldn't brick and mortar stores be given that opportunity?

I don't know. It's disappointing. I want to do the right thing and spend money in my town but this was too much for such a small book. I was prepared to spend the $20 bill so I bought a copy of Joe Hill's new book, NOS4A2, which I wasn't sure I'd actually buy. It was on sale for $19.99.

There's a blurb from Gaiman on the back.

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